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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

ALAC to G8: Examine Internet’s economy, challenges

The At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recommended the examination of the Internet's economic and technical challenges to the just concluded meeting of the Presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) in Paris.

At-Large is the ICANN’s community representing Internet end users, other than the commercial or technical communities and has been an essential driving force, maintaining openness, ensuring accountability and transparency in ICANN's role in the naming and addressing of the Internet. ALAC in a public statement issued at the end of G8 meeting, said they have taken note of the objectives of the Presidency of the Group of Eight (G8, French presidency) regarding the development of the Internet through the eG8 Forum, which held in Paris between May 24 and 25, 2011.

“We support some aspects of this initiative and wish to record our strong reservations regarding other aspects, notably the partial and biased participation in this event,” ALAC stated.

ALAC, however, listed four-key areas of its support to G8 objectives comprising the need to “improve everyone's access to the Internet; Enable everyone to participate in global networks and promote respect for freedom of expression and opinion; Improve security of the Internet and protection of individuals; and Recommend examination of the Internet's economic and technical challenges.”

The group also noted that several Internet organizations including ICANN, W3C, IAB and the Internet Society have been invited to be present in the eG8 Forum and that the outcome of the eG8 Forum may be submitted to the G8 Summit.

“However, we are surprised and concerned that G8 governments, who have already committed themselves, in the WSIS and elsewhere, to the development of Internet policy placing all Internet stakeholders on an equal footing, omitted to ensure that all stakeholders, including representatives of end users and civil society, such as the ICANN At-Large community, among others, would be invited,” they decried.

They alleged that on the contrary, participation at the eG8 aspect has been weighted more heavily towards commercial interests through sponsorship requirements.

ALAC pointed out that G8 will only comprehend fully and include the perspectives of all Internet stakeholders if Internet end users and consumers are effectively represented and able to participate in discussions such as the eG8 meeting.

According to the press statement made available Business Champion, At-Large is the name for the community of individual Internet users who participate in the policy development work of ICANN.

More than 120 At-Large Structures representing the views of individual Internet users are active throughout the world.

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